the first key west sidewalk poem and a little history



In April 2014, in honor of National Poetry Month, The City of Key West and Key West Art in Public Places unveiled the first “sidewalk poem” in front of Captain Tony’s Saloon on Greene Street, a Hemingway haunt. The untitled piece is by Kirby Congdon, Key West Poet Laureate 2013. Mr. Congdon’s work, and the work of sixteen other talented poets, were chosen from over 200 submissions to settle into the sidewalks of Key West. The original plan was to place the poems by the stamp-on-wet-concrete method, but as the edges of words began to crumble, the city began engraving the work (paid for by private donations). A complicated timeline ensued and all 17 poems have yet to be installed. I’ve found 9. They are marvelous and underappreciated and here is the first:


I walk on sand

and leave a trail

of footprints,

hard and deep.

The wash of waves

fills my step

in hasty cascades.

Water and sand return,

not quite the same;

the tide, its oceans,

the earth itself

are changed. – Kirby Congdon


additional information on poetry in key west, a good read



Leave a Comment